Sharp differences have emerged in the Muslim community over the formation of Central Madarsa Board to regulate these education institutions in the country.
While All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) and Deoband groups have opposed the plan, the rival factions, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (Jadid) and other dominant Sunni-Sufi sects have come out in support of the move.
The AIMPLB at its Bhatkal meeting earlier this year had adopted resolution opposing the plan to control and regulate the Madarsas.
However AMPLB (Jadid) and Sunni-Sufi led All-India Ulma Mashaikh Board have now asked the centre to go through the plan. These two organizations are Sunni Muslim groups.
Talking to Hindustan Times in Lucknow on Thursday general secretary of Mashaikh board Maulana Syed Mohd Ashraf Kachauchvi said, "opposition is only from one sect". He said the opposition was indeed a retrograde step.
However AIMPLB member and Naib Imam Lucknow Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahli told HT "instead of solving problems the central board would introduce corruption in these institutions". Expressing suspicion over the move Rashid said "there is rampant corruption in UP Madarsa Board". Maulana Wali Rahmani has also expressed doubt over the intention of the government.
Last month Mahmood Madni led Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH) at its conference in Deoband had also opposed the plan.
But Maulana Ashraf rebutting the charge argued, "these are all pre-determined notions". He said AIMPLB (Jadid) has mooted some amendments in proposed board that should be looked into. He said, "instead of listening to voice of one sect the Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal should talk to every Muslim sect to finally decide the issue.
Maulana Asharfi said modernization of Madarsa system of education had become imperative to improve the prevailing situation in these institutions.
While Maulana Khalid Rashid said why government had been trying to improve lot of only four per cent and neglecting 96 per cent non-madarsa Muslims students, Maulana Ashraf said even if moves were afoot for this four percent Madarsa students, the opposition was un-called for "in the name of Islam and interference in religious education".
"In fact those opposing it don't have reasonable arguments", Maulana Ashraf said, adding "it is for this reason now political pressure is being exerted to scuttle the plan". He also demanded representation of every sect in the proposed board, which, he said would help in community's development.